Main Deity:- The presiding deity of this temple is lord Shiva. Here, Lord Shiva is seen in his Ardha Nareeshwar (Half male- Half female) manifestation. It is the complete Union of Shiva and Shakti (Parvati) and this temple serves as an example of gender equality.
Location:- The city of Tiruchengode is a city known for its ancient temples. It is located in the Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu. This place is famous for its Murugan temple as well as the Shiva temple. In this article we will focus on the Shiva temple.In ancient times this place was also called Thirukodi maadachen kundrur. The temple is located atop a hill.
There are also shrines for Lord Nataraja, Lord Bhairava, Subramanya, Sri Yoga Chandikeswara, Surya Dev (Sun God), Lord Yoga Dakshinamurthy, Juradevar, Veerabhadra, Panchalingam, Mahalakshmi, Shastha, Lord Siddhi Vinayaka, Shani dev, SheshNag and Nagarani.
Legend:- It is believed that, all the Gods that visit Kailash parvat for a Darshan of Lord Shiva, first needed to visit Devi Parvati. One day Sage Bhringi, came to Kailash and wished to see Lord Shiva. He did not want to visit Devi Parvati and proceeded to meet Lord Shiva only. Angered by this, Parvati cut of one leg of Sage Bhringi. The Sage asked for forgiveness and earnestly explained his point that he needed blessings from only Shiva and not Shakti. Lord Shiva realized his devotion and blessed him with an extra leg.
After this incident, Parvati decided to undertake the Kedara Gowri vratham to be united with Lord Shiva. She wanted a boon from him that would make sure that anyperson worshiping Shiva would worship Shakti too. Upon completion of the penance, Lord Shiva appeared in his Ardha Nareeshwar form.
Another legend is of king Ravi Varman who was a great Shiva devotee.The kings son Kulashekharan was ill and no physician could save him.Another fellow devotee advised the king to worship the Lord at this Soon enough, his son was cured. Ravi Varman built this temple to commemorate his devotion.
Architecture:- The temple premises are clean and large. The flooring is made out of granite. The Gopuram of the temple is five tired and has an image of Adishesha (Shesh Naag - King of all nagas).
The shrine for Subramanyam is located on a flat area at the hill top. Behind the main sanctum a temple for Shree Murugan also exists. The Holy tank is called the Sangu Teertham. It is towards the west of the temple.
The main idol or Ardha Nareeshwar is about 7 feet tall. It is dressed with male clothes on one side and female on the other. Unlike other temples,the Utsav Murti is tall and kept in an enclosed area.
Festivals/Prayers:- Devotees perform special Pujas to be united with there loved ones. People also pray here for Childbirth and resolving problems in marriage. There is a river that runs outside the temple premises. The river is hailed as the womb (Karu-pai). People believe that taking a dip in this river will solve the problems of childbirth. Some people believe that this holy water can cure any disease if consumed for 48 days.
The main Prasad is tamarind. It is believed that as tamarind tastes both sweet and sour, it is a perfect culmination of the male/female or Ying/yang.
Hundreds of Devotees come to the temple on New moon and Full moon days. There is a special late night Puja called the Artha Jaama PujaHow to reach - This temple is situated 18 Kms from Erode and 32 Kms from Namakkal.